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The Complete Poems

(Poet to Poet Series)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  8,065 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Percy Bysshe Shelley endures today as the great Promethean bard of the High Romantic period who is best remembered for extolling the sublime and affirming the possibility of transcendence.

From the Hardcover edition.
Hardcover, 944 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by Modern Library (first published January 1st 1839)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  8,065 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Sean Barrs
Over the next year you’re going to see a lot of updates from me about Percy Shelley
Shelley was a great man. He was a visionary. He was a genius. He saw the world, and he understood it. He saw beyond the idiotic structures that man has built; he saw beyond society and people: he saw to the very heart of nature and the romantic imagination, and he embraced it. Percy Shelley was a great man. Percy Shelley is my hero. His poetry is profound. It speaks to me on levels I didn’t think possible.

Jun 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Please can I rip all the pages out of this book and rub them all over my body?
Nov 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
T.S. Eliot can say what he wants. Shelley towers over him.
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-poetry-man
He's great, or 'Great,' I guess. Still, like cheesecake, Shelley's a little rich for me. Moreover, I feel like Romanticism created plenty of its own Ozymandiuses with its big ideas and its fierce self-regard.
Rowland Pasaribu
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
The central thematic concerns of Shelley’s poetry are largely the same themes that defined Romanticism, especially among the younger English poets of Shelley’s era: beauty, the passions, nature, political liberty, creativity, and the sanctity of the imagination. What makes Shelley’s treatment of these themes unique is his philosophical relationship to his subject matter—which was better developed and articulated than that of any other Romantic poet with the possible exception of Wordsworth—and h ...more
Feb 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poesy, romanticism
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, english-lit
Before I get going on this review, let me link to the reviews I've already done of Shelley's longer (or more famous) works:
Prometheus Unbound
The Cenci
"The Witch of Atlas"

It's been a while since I really gave time to one poet in the way that I used to be able to over summer break. Not only did I complete my Keats study, but I also was able to get in an extensive study of Lord Byron. While I was able to look at some works by other Romantics along the way, I fe
Nov 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Yes!
Shelley is the best lyricist in poetic history. In my humble opinion anyway. It's a shame that he's overshadowed all the time by his wife, but he is once again slowly being recognised as one of the greater romantic poets..
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shelley
Shelley is my favourite poet.He was a true revolutionary.All his works are very endearing and also infuse the "revolutionary" spirit in one's heart.He was really on a cosmic scale.Sublime!
Tom Baikin-O'hayon
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading his biography one can't help but pity or despise him.
Reading his poetry one can't help but fall in love with him.
Andrew Fairweather
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: limey-lit, poetic
I think I’ve read enough—while I’d read shorter works by Shelley relatively extensively when much younger, I don’t think I’d yet had the sophistication to appreciate the import of the longer more philosophical works… and maybe now I’m too old to appreciate them! I’m kidding, but I am pretty taken aback by how the philosophy in Shelley’s work seems to be so in line with our own times.

I'll say this, that aesthetically Shelley can be very beautiful and there are definitely interesting moments in Sh
Ah, Shelley. Rad poet, radder human being.
So about two months ago I picked up a biography of the Romantic poets & the marriage of Mary & Percy Shelley, then realized I only knew one poem by Shelley, saw his collected works on Project Gutenberg, and was like, sure this'll be fun!
Reading every poem ever written by Percy Shelley has taught me a few things about myself, mainly that while I am very here for the Shelley ~aesthetic~, I am less here for the actual act of reading, especially the long win
Steve Morrison
Shelley is the poet who has moved me most greatly over the years. He was a skeptical visionary--a spiritual revolutionary who understood the limitations of human character. His favorite writer was the down-to-earth Montaigne.
Shelley's lyrical poetry is among the best in the language, and is the most ravishingly musical I know. Some of his longer poems seem to be a bit less-well-known, though they're some of the most rewarding long poems since Spenser, and necessary for an understanding of Shell
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who love to see that the past was smarter than we give it credit
Recommended to Ele by: Michael Rosen
Can man be free if women be a slave?

-Laon and Cythna, 1817

Percy is my favourite poet. It is hard for me to consider how to write this review without gushing all over his work, but I'll try. Also, not the edition I've read; I have had the misfortune to not, as of yet, get to read the entirety of his works.

What fascinated me the most was how modern Percy's arguments seem. He was a vegetarian, believing in that humans, plants, and animals are equal. He had come to this conclusion after reading Hind
Naman Singh
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelley's poems are worthy to be praised and at times too way forward of his times. He wrote struck by a passion and ended his writings with a note of wisdom and a kind of lesson.
Sera Taíno
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love Shelley.
Cyprien Saito
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love his Alastor or Spirit of Solitude.
Aladdin Aldair
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am always reading this
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I like how a bunch of hacks are giving Percy Shelley's poems a low rating(less than 5 star). LOL! Pretty rich.
Strong Extraordinary Dreams
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Really, I must have read half of this huge collection of work, or more. I devoured it as a poetry discovering teenager. I had an older edition, with padded covers of fake leather, in red, with embossed writing.

Some of them are great, many go on WAY too long, but 4 stars for the effect this tome had on my life.
Jen Well-Steered
I keep thinking with these Romantic poets that just because people loved them at the time, I'll also love them. Turns out that those couple of poems by each of them you had to read in high school or your 19th century literary survey course in college are the only good ones any of them wrote, and you definitely don't need the 1600 page double volume that annotates every single line that I got.
Patrick Gibson
Sep 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Putting my poery books on the shelf one day at a time.

In case you need a poem hit -- this is the end of 'Adonais' and a pretty good way to start or end your day:

"The One remains, the many change and pass;
Heaven’s light forever shines, Earth’s shadows fly;
Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
Until Death tramples it to fragments.—Die,
If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
Follow where all is fled!—Rome’s azure sky,
Flowers, ruins, statues, music,
Jul 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm lying! I only read Prometheus Unbound, but that's all I got it from the library for anyway. This rating and review only hold for it.
Well, Yeats called PU the greatest holy book of our time, but unlike Yeats I'm neither a poet nor a madman, so I may not be appreciating on his level. It also might be dated a little bit, in these post-revolutionary times, the hero-rebel is not the unimaginable symbol of human excellence it was for Shelley. That said, this is a perfectly realised love-song on th
Jun 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I have little exposure to the Romantic poets, and on a whim got this from the library. I had no idea of Shelley's range of work -- I probably knew a lot more about his biography than his actual work.

Some of the work strikes me that, like Shakespeare, it would be better performed than read. The epic drama Prometheus Unbound is one of these. On the whole I feel unequipped to really understand all of this work. I remind myself that I still even stumble reading Shakespeare sometimes and I've had fa
Jul 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
This was really disappointing. I had discovered Shelley from a passage in Poe's complete poems and thought the piece was good so looked into his other stuff. This guy wrote the longest poems I have ever seen. Seriously, and they weren't even well connected together, I don't know maybe there's a reason for that but it wasn't my type of thing. He mostly writes about heaven and the sky just over and over and then about other women but then comparing them to heaven.. I don't know. I only found one p ...more
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm rating the poet. Simply my favorite--for the compassionate and lonely Ode to the Moon, the feverish and exhilirating Ode to the West Wind, the stirring and powerful Mount Blanc, the irony, the contempt, of Ozymandias . . . .

I have to admit it took an English professor to read Mount Blanc before I appreciated the power of that particular poem. I should probably look for audio versions of his poetry. Any recommendations? Honestly, my professor in 1970 read it and would not permit any discussio
Emericus Durden
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Never have political insight and polemical fire been so seamlessly interwoven into the dense fabric of poetic expression than in the poems of PBS. Of the "Big Five" English romantic poets, the work of PBS is distinguished by its political dimension: "Masque of Anarchy," "Revolt of Islam," "Queen Mab," and the list goes on. I see Shelley as the 19th Century heir to the 17th Century's leading political poet, John Milton. And if Shelley's line dates, and perhaps it does, it's never for lack of expr ...more
Sombryn Williams
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I liked this, but it was quite a bear to get through. It took me 5 YEARS to finish. Reader be warned, Mrs. Shelly (her husband's ultimate super-fan) included EVERYTHING. That being said, her commentary was interesting and touching. Oh, and of course the poetry itself is lovely.

From "Mutability" (pg. 562):
"We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly!--yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost forever."

Apr 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
I always like to have some classical poetry to turn to when I don't feel like reading anything prose. For the past three months, that's been Shelley. Before that, it was Keats.

I don't read these compendiums cover to cover, but, pick and choose what I feel like.

If I were to recommend one Shelley poem that people may skip over, it would be Adonais, an elegy for Keats that, I believe, doubles as Shelley's own suicide note.
May 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelley is one of the greatest lyricists in English poetry he is not profound in his thoughts but his music is very fascinating. We can not compare him to Wordsworth of course because the latter is much more greater than him. Shelley is in fact much more greater than the romantic poets of the second generation such as Keats and Byron but he is not one of the perfect or universal poets because his outlook or philosophy is shallow and his thoughts are vague.
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Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the major English Romantic poets and is widely considered to be among the finest lyric poets of the English language. He is perhaps most famous for such anthology pieces as Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, and The Masque of Anarchy. However, his major works were long visionary poems including Alastor, Adonais, The Revolt of Islam, Prometheus Unbound a ...more

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